“Our customers have been asking for anything pretty and happy,” offered Lucy Keeler of Keelergordon, which showed at Printsource. “People are looking for positivity in these times.”
Kim Parker, also at Printsource, agreed.
“There’s definitely been a response to happy colors,” she said. “And we’ve seen clients that are certainly less fearful of using color.”
Selections at all three shows ranged from folkloric and peasant looks that were heavy on florals, both printed and embroidered, to a variety of looks in white-on-white tonals that included the use of lace and eyelet.
At The Style Council, which showed at Printsource, one of the most popular groups was called Oklahoma. “The feeling is workwear, prairie and peasant, all mixed together,” said Jonathan Ward, creative director. Therefore, he added, ditsy florals are very important, as is the muted, washed-out palette. “The colors look a little worn out and are quite subdued,” he said.
Looks at the New York-based studio ranged from florals in contrasting sizes and looks with antique lace trim to ribbon embroideries and fabrics that looked like they were inside out.
Keelergordon focused on florals as well with a selection of Liberty-style looks that were layered, in addition to more decorative Moroccan-inspired styles that were slightly hippie in nature and featured a number of smaller details along the edges.
“Everything has a nostalgia about it,” said Keeler. “It’s got a vintage feel.”
At Inprints, one of The Colorfield’s themes was sophisticated hippie, noted owner Adam Reed.
“Paisleys have been very strong for us in sweet colorations,” he said. Ditsy florals were also key, albeit on a larger scale. Embroideries, he added, had been stronger than in seasons past, saying, “There’s definitely a turn toward softer looks.”
Dorian Lightbown, vice president of design at Sigrid Olsen, saw a “tremendous amount of embroidery” compared to the last few seasons. “I loved the combinations of embroideries on top of prints,” she added. She said that details sewn along edges were also important, adding, “The studios gave a lot of attention to detail, and the result was very fresh and new.”
Esther Mancini, vice president of design and merchandising at the Leslie Fay Dress division, said old-fashioned embroidery caught her eye.
“The Style Council did a great job with embroideries. They used lots of denim and lace, both important going forward for us,” she said. “Also, the ethereal florals at Tom Cody were great. The patchwork ideas and the use of lace were very inspiring.”
Inspired by Prada’s most recent runway show, many studios were also showing medallions and tile patterns, including Group Four DesignStudio and Marilyn Kern, both at Inprints. “They’ve been one of the more popular looks for us at this show,” noted Cathy Leese, who works in sales at Marilyn Kern.
At English Accents, Rowena Bristow featured a variety of bohemian looks. “We’ve had a lot of response to our patchwork styles,” said Jane Roberts, in sales. “They’re romantic, pretty and floaty and are trimmed in lace or eyelet.”
Embroideries and appliques also abounded in soft colors that included rose, purple and blue.
At Westcott Design, which also showed at English Accents, paisleys were seen in two different color stories, according to Soren Olsen, sales director. “First, there are the softer tones — the greens, pinks and lilacs — that are more intimate-looking,” he said. “Then, equally important are contrasting, brighter hues such as a blue ground with a red print or embroidery.”
The Collection, at English Accents as well, featured 18th-century American folklore looks, according to owner Christopher Matthews, which he described as “very soft and very pretty, and tons of cottons and muslins.”
Subdued colors such as soft roses, grays and beige were prominent, and embroideries featured more knotting effects than beads. “It’s Jane Austen meets Joni Mitchell,” Matthews quipped.
In addition to a soft, muted palette, many of these looks were featured in white, especially in white-on-white tonal combinations in both prints and embroideries. From eyelet at Marcie Designs and tonal looks with lace and ethnic embroidery at Tom Cody, which both showed at Printsource, to deconstructed looks with eyelet, crochet or lace at London Portfolio and the plethora of ethereal tonal looks at Design Works, both at Inprints, white was everywhere.
“We’ve gotten a strong response to our white-on-white looks with lace from Timney Fowler,” said Alaric Krigger, in sales at Splash, which displayed at Printsource.
Stripes continue to be important as well and were shown prominently at Paul Vogel’s booth at English Accents. That firm showed colors that were strong, yet mixed with neutrals to tone them down.
“I love the cremes, chocolates and other neutrals mixed with pop colors such as pink and orange,” he said. He added that aqua greens and blues were also important.
Strong contrast combinations such as red and white and black and white were also key. Daniel Sager showed a variety of cutout tropical patterns in red and white at Printsource.
“They’ve been really strong at this show,” he said. “They’re a clean look that people are responding to.”